Guide For Using Canes, Walkers, and Assistive Devices Safely

Know how to use these devices safely.  

Many people find that as they grow older they need a walker, cane or other assistive device in order to help with mobility. These devices are often what allow an individual with mobility issues to remain independent. However, there are safety issues that both users and the caregivers should be aware of. When these devices are not used safely, it can pose the potential for falls and other injuries that can be devastating and even life-threatening for an older person. By knowing how to use these devices safely the individual and the caregiver can maximize their mobility potential. Here is a guide for using walkers, canes, and assistive devices safely-

1. Know who can benefit from using a cane or walker- You should start by determining if an assistive device can benefit your loved one. There are many different conditions that can be helped when a mobility device is used. These can include but are not limited to: Arthritis, (especially in the knees or hips), any instability that results from a neurological disease, balance problems, leg or foot injuries, and any condition that causes weakness in the hips or legs. In addition, those individuals who suffer from heart and lung problems that affect endurance can often benefit from using a cane, walker, or other assistive device.

2. Consult with your medical professional-Statistics show that a large number of seniors end up in the emergency room due to falls that are associated with walkers, canes, and other assistive devices. This can often be remedied by getting more instruction for proper use of such devices. It should never be assumed that senior simply knows how to uses these items. Medical professionals can provide detailed instruction or the resources where the senior can find the information that they need in order to use these items safely and effectively.

3. Get the right cane or walker-Any walking aid or mobility device needs to be tailored to the size and needs of the person who will be using it. These items should never be borrowed from someone else. If the mobility device is not the right size or type it can cause a serious injury or accident. However, making the choice can be difficult. The good news is that provides an easy selection guide for these items. Simply click onto: to see what is offered. If you need further help you can contact their helpful team of experts who can guide you in making the selection. Simply call their all female team at 800-985-1353 M-F 9-4 CST to talk to one of their product specialists.

4. Don’t let cost be a factor-Many seniors who have mobility issues are often on limited budgets. However, it is important to understand that walkers, canes, and other assistive devices are often covered by Medicare and other insurers. Seniors and caregivers should check with their insurance to see what is covered and how much benefit they may be eligible for. It is better to get the right product and pay a little more for it, then the wrong one because it costs less.

5. Understand what each type of mobility device can and can’t do-Canes are often good for individuals who need minimal stability. Be sure that you bend your elbow to at least 25 degrees and measure the distance between the wrist and the floor in order to get the right size of cane. If you need more stability, then a walker may be a better choice. A walker lets the user shift their weight to their arms. Keep in mind that walkers are also sized to the height and weight of the user. Some walkers are made with either two or four wheels to make them easier to move. Grip on either a cane or a walker should also be taken into account. It should be easy to grip without forcing the user to have to exert a lot of grip strength.

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About The CareGiver Partnership. The CareGiver Partnership helps caregivers and their loved ones with answers to their caregiving questions, including information about home health care products and supplies, from our Wisconsin-based team of Product Specialists who are all current or former caregivers. The company’s Web site provides the largest online library of resources on subjects most important to caregivers — from arthritis to assisted living, and Parkinson’s to prostate cancer — as well as access to more than 3,000 home care products for incontinence, skin care, mobility, home safety and daily living aids. The CareGiver Partnership was founded in 2004 by Lynn Wilson of Neenah, Wisc. Visit to learn more or call 1-800-985-1353.


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